January 13, 2011
The fallout from what the Navy called "clearly inappropriate videos" created by Owen Honors, the former captain of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise continues: The Navy said it is preventing another former commander of the Enterprise from retiring until the investigation is completed.
Rear Adm. Lawrence Rice had planned to retire from his job at Joint Forces Command on February 1, Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan said on Thursday. Rice's retirement has been delayed indefinitely until the Navy's probe concerning the videos can be completed, Moynihan said. Instead, he has been transferred to Fleet Forces Command until the close of the investigation.
"The deferment of Admiral Rice's retirement is a necessary and prudent step," Moynihan said, emphasizing that the deferment in no way suggested any particular outcome of the investigation.
Honors was relieved from command earlier this month because of the videos replete with sexual jokes and slurs against homosexuals. The videos were filmed using government equipment and broadcast via closed-circuit TV on the Enterprise while Honors was its executive officer in 2006 and 2007. For part of that time, Rice was his commander.
The Navy is investigating both the circumstances surrounding the production, as well as which members of the carrier's leadership may have been aware of the videos' questionable nature and what-if any-action they took at the time.
Those likely to be questioned in the investigation would be others whose command of the Enterprise overlapped with the making of Honors' videos, including: Rear Adm. Ron Horton, who commanded the Enterprise from May 2007 to May 2010; Rear Adm. Raymond Spicer, who commanded the Enterprise carrier strike group from August 2005 to February 2007; and Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, who commanded the strike group from February 2007 to August 2008.
Honors's removal over the videos prompted a flurry of protests from his former sailors, who came to his defense. The Navy maintained that his "profound lack of good judgment and professionalism" in making the videos "calls into question his character and completely undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively in command," Adm. John Harvey, the commander of the Navy's Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, said at the time.
The Enterprise deployed on Thursday to support U.S. forces abroad under the the command of his replacement, Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne.
January 13, 2011